Mind tricks

Curtis The Mentalist entertains people with their own thoughts

Written by Julie Schillings | Photography by Tobie Andrews Photography

Curtis Waltermire recalls the precise moment he became captivated by magic. During annual family gatherings in Missouri, Uncle Charlie would mesmerize young Curtis with a magic trick. Having mastered only this one trick, it is unlikely that Uncle Charlie realized at the time his impact on Curtis’ future as a mentalist, a magician and an entertainer.

“As a kid I would go crazy for this coin trick,” said Waltermire, known professionally as Curtis The Mentalist. “It fooled me year after year until I was about 9 years old when I finally discovered his secret.” Having conquered the mysterious coin-in-the-ear technique, Curtis began tricking his own friends.

Growing up in central Illinois, Curtis’ parents recognized and encouraged his early interest in magic. “I found the hidden gems of tricks in old library books,” Curtis said. Along with 50 million other viewers in the 1970s, Curtis was glued to the television during “Doug Henning’s World of Magic.” Performing tricks for his parents’ friends during dinner parties, Curtis honed his delivery as an entertainer and was greatly motivated by the attention and laughter his tricks garnered. “Magic has been with me all of my life,” Curtis said. “For me, doing a trick and getting a laugh was sometimes much easier than having a conversation.”

By high school Curtis had mastered enough material to begin performing magic shows at birthday parties, for scout troops and at union halls. Recognizing the earning potential from corporate shows, Curtis and a few college classmates formed a magic and comedy troupe.

With quite a bit of experience, some money in his pocket and acting classes under his belt, Curtis left his studies at Parkland College to pursue his dream of becoming a professional magician and actor.

“I’m an ordinary guy that can do some extraordinary things.” — Curtis The Mentalist

Curtis’ ability is far from ordinary. He’s a mentalist. He uses psychology, physiology and his personal intuition to leave audience members feeling as if he knows their inner thoughts.

“Mentalism is like the sixth sense,” Curtis said. “I personally claim no psychic abilities. I do, however, do things through psychological trickery. I am an entertainer.”

A Wichita area resident for the past decade, Curtis performs across the country. From public performances and corporate events to intimate private parties, Curtis’ shows have audiences laughing and their heads spinning.

Curtis plays a lot of games with his audience — mind games, if you will — tempting them with $100 if they can resist his influence. Interpreting nonverbal language, combined with foolproof methods of trickery, Curtis taps his years of training to amaze audiences.

“I train my mind to memorize things,” Curtis said, describing one demonstration where he memorizes an entire magazine, rips out pages and disperses them among audience members. Throughout the show, Curtis will ask individuals to call out their page numbers from which he will recite passages from that specific article.

According to Curtis, the best part of any show or speaking engagement is connecting with the audience. Each performance is unique because Curtis’ interaction with audience members alters the direction of the show.

Unbelievable? Some walk in as skeptics and typically leave as believers, but no one can deny being entertained by Curtis The Mentalist’s great show filled with skill, fun and mystery.

“I wear a lot of hats — I’m a mentalist, actor, magician, grandpa, cool dad and above-average husband.” — Curtis The Mentalist

As a keynote speaker, Curtis has spoken to executives about leadership and the power of influence. Demonstrating how a suggested thought can eventually become a driver in the decision-making process, Curtis uses his years as a business owner to provide relatable and usable techniques in his presentations.

Presenting to students as a part of the SkillsUSA program is another one of Curtis’ roles. SkillsuSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry collaborating to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Providing educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education, SkillsUSA is in classrooms across the nation.

Curtis is also known for a few outrageous stunts — like driving a car while triple-blindfolded.

From the driver’s seat of a shiny red restored 1966 Chevy, eyes covered with duct tape and newspaper over the windows, Curtis navigated through traffic cones by “seeing” the course through the car owner’s eyes. This particular stunt was part of the annual blackTop Nationals Classic Car and bike Show in 2013 and was featured on an epi- sode of “Street Rodding American Style.” Nearly a year later, he did it again. This time, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion racecar driver bobby unser joined Curtis in the passenger seat of the car during a blindfolded drive. “This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” unser said as Curtis raced around the parking lot and down the mountain roads at the Whitney Mountain lodge in Arkansas. “In all of my years of driving, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Making part of his living as a professional actor, Curtis has appeared in numerous TV commercials, short films and recently shot scenes for a new movie starring Dean Cain and Sarah Jane Morris. “Gosnell” is the true story of serial killer and abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was arrested and convicted in 2013 in Philadelphia. Curtis plays the role of a tactical officer who is present when Gosnell’s house is raided.

Curtis attributes his years of experience as a live theater actor in great part to his success as a performer today. “Magic takes place mainly in people’s minds,” Curtis said. “The illusion only has to be plausible or suggestible, and the spectators’ minds will do the rest. It’s fascinating. I am simply entertaining people with their own thoughts.”

More information

See Curtis perform The Mastermind Show live at the Holiday Inn on
East Kellogg
Nov 13 at 8:00 p.m.
Contact to book private performances and corporate events.
curtisthementalist.com

 
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